COVID-19 Update We're back and we've missed you!!! Online booking is now available so schedule by clicking the link below or call (312) 321-0004 to book your appointment.

  • Six Steps to Cultivate Resilience During Fertility Treatment

     

     

     

    “I don’t know if I can go on.”  

    We hear these words a lot at Pulling Down the Moon.  And in a year like the one we’re having, these words take on added weight.  We’re tired, we’re burnt out and it feels like we’ve used our last drop of mojo just to survive this pandemic…let alone another cycle.  

    But you can go on.  In fact, you can not only move forward, you can move forward with purpose and strength because you are more resilient than you know.  And, resilience is something that can be shored up with some simple steps.  

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Six Steps to Resilience:

     

    1. Allow yourself to be truthful about what you are experiencing and feeling.

    Find a place where you can truly and authentically download what you’re going through.  One of the biggest ways we become resilient is by combating the tendency to hold on to our negative thoughts and feelings. Seeing yourself reflected in compassionate eyes begins to heal the self-blame and anger that comes with fertility challenges.

    1. Nourish yourself with healthy food.

    Food not only fuels your body, it impacts your ability to handle stressful situations.  Diet impacts brain chemistry in specific ways.  Lean protein and complex carbohydrates balance blood sugar and help us maintain emotional balance and healthy fats provide the chemical backbone of mood-managing neurotransmitters.  Adding an omega-3 supplement and/or probiotics have also been shown to prevent depression and anxiety.  

    1. Get your Zzzzz’s

    Give yourself the amount of sleep you need to feel rested and not in need of caffeine, sugar or other stimulants.  Researchers have known for years that shift work (working nights or rotating day/night shifts) is associated with depression, obesity, breast cancer, menstrual irregularity, endometriosis, infertility, miscarriage and pre-term birth. There is evidence that melatonin, our sleep/wake hormone, impacts the ability of the uterus to receive an embryo. The fast pace of modern life has put everyone at risk of chronic sleep deprivation. 

    1. Stretch and breathe.

    Yoga is also the ultimate practice of resilience – we use the poses to bend, but do not break; we hold them with strength. Yoga reduces stress and anxiety and teaches us how to release muscular tension in our body, improve blood flow and lower stress hormones. Yoga works directly on the vagus nerve, stimulating our body’s rest/digest/nest processes that are the physical equivalent to resilience. Through yoga, your body can begin to relax and to heal. Once your body allows itself to relax, your mind will follow.  Try our Yoga for Fertility Series starting on Sept 12th or drop-in for our weekly Wellness Wednesday classes starting Sept 15th

    1. Stay sexy.

    Fertility troubles can often take the spice out of an otherwise normal sex life. Exercise regularly so you feel strong and shapely. Splurge on a new nightie that emphasizes your curves and makes you feel like a sex kitten. Make an aphrodisiac meal that you can share by candlelight with your lover. Sex helps you release tension and rekindle the closeness you might be missing as you and your partner work through your challenges.

    1. Lighten your load and begin to let go.

    Resilience is about discovering what you need to shed. In my 19 years at Pulling Down the Moon, during many of which I was working on my own fertility journey, I have seen that we all wear some negative emotion or belief like a shell. We believe our shell gives us form and shape, and fear that if we release this deeply held belief we will no longer be the same. The shell can be made of many different things – grief, fear, blame, anger. We believe that if we work hard enough and are a good enough person, we will get what we want. Some of us believe our fertility defines us. Resilience is the ability to begin to address these questions and fears, rather than allow them to shape our world. Once we let go, we begin to come out of our shell and take the form in life that reflects our potential. Infertility is a painful process, but one that can allow for immense liberty and personal growth. Don’t be afraid to bend. You will not break!

    At Pulling Down the Moon our personalized, holistic approach helps you find the tools to build resilience in body, mind, and spirit.  Have questions about how we can help?  Contact us at info@pullingdownthemoon.com today!  

  • Our Journey To Parenthood

    by Jillian Delsignore

    Eric and I always knew we wanted children, always wanted a family.  We talked about it from the time we first started dating in 2016.  Going back even years earlier, I had girlfriends encouraging me to freeze my eggs but I never went through with it.  It was a combination of fear (can’t handle needles!), uncertainty of the future, my travel schedule (always an excuse!), you name it, I used it as a reason not to do it.  When Eric and I met, some of those excuses and fears were alleviated as I could suddenly see the future.  The picture of our family became clear.

    We had our first joint meeting with Dr Rapisarda at FCI in the summer of 2017.  We thought we were there to discuss freezing eggs but he said that given we were there embarking on this together, it was best that we freeze embryos.  And so began our journey to Elliott James.

    We did our first IVF cycle in November 2017.  The shots, the ultrasounds, the blood tests… it was almost surreal to experience that first time.  Your world suddenly revolves around daily injections, follicles and hormone levels.   I remember our first trigger night like it was yesterday.  We always seemed to trigger on Saturday nights! We got one embryo. One embryo from eight eggs.  It became clear we needed to continue with more cycles given the odds of success.  Those cycles followed in January and November 2018 resulting in two more embryos, both from the last cycle.

    We were never able to do a fresh transfer because of my lining. It never wanted to cooperate even when I was being pumped with hormones.  We tried our first frozen transfer in April 2019.  The process was supposed to take 30 days – mine, it took 3 months and even then my lining was barely viable for a transfer.  We were still hopeful but the pregnancy didn’t take. We tried another transfer cycle right away but we had to cancel it because my body just wasn’t responding.  It was becoming clear that me carrying our child was not going to be part of our journey.

    It was time to make a decision… try again or explore other options.  We just couldn’t risk one of our remaining two embryos.  Surrogacy was it but where do we even begin. Where do you find a person who is willing to give her body, give herself to help someone else bring a child in to the world? Then there’s the emotion of the whole process.  I wouldn’t be pregnant, wouldn’t be able to experience that, feel our baby kick, know what I would eat, how I would care for myself – that lack of control was really hard to accept but it was our path.

    We found an amazing organization, ConceiveAbilities, to help us through the entire process – finding a gestational carrier, getting us a lawyer, acting as our complete coordinator of what is a very complicated process.  We were open to finding a GC anywhere in the country in an effort to be matched quickly.  Not only did they find us a match in six weeks, they found us someone in Chicago.  We met Steffanie for the first time on video in early January 2020.  We instantly knew she was going to be our perfect match.

    Its really hard to explain the relationship that develops between intended parents and a GC.  Its intense, emotional, loving, all the feels.  This part of our journey was particularly unique because at this point COVID was upon us which meant protocols at doctors appointments had completely changed.  We couldn’t attend the transfer but drove her to and from and just waited in the parking lot. Our OB appointments became a routine of driving to the doctors office, hanging together in the waiting room and then heading back out to the car when she was called back so we could FaceTime during the appointment.  We made it work and we loved getting to spend the time together even if it was in waiting rooms and parking lots.

    We are forever grateful for the hospital in allowing both Eric and me to be there all throughout labor and delivery in addition to Steffanie’s husband.  I was able to cut the cord and we could immediately hold Elliott which was something we feared wouldn’t be possible because of COVID.  The hospital even went so far as to providing us a room on the postpartum floor.  It was amazing to see how invested in our story everyone became over the course of those 14 hours.  Doctors and nurses whose shifts had ended an hour before Elliott’s birth came back in the room so that they could be a part of this joyous moment.  Hugs, tears, the quiet moment when a doctor said to me “you’ve waited a long time for him haven’t you”.  Yes, we had waited a long time and it was worth the wait. Those moments and days in the hospital are ones we will truly never forget.

    One constant in our journey are my friends at Pulling Down The Moon. They have been with us from the very beginning.  Acupuncture and massage played a big role in not only my physical health but mental health as well.  I instantly calmed the minute I walked in the door – every single time.  It is the most inviting environment and despite my fear of needles, the acupuncture was something I came to love.  We even had to do some of our shots there!  Never a dull moment when you are beholden to the clock and miscalculate how long you’ll be at acupuncture!  The connections that I made with everyone there became some of the most important to me in this journey as I could see myself in them.  They had their own stories and worked there to help women just like me, just like them, get their families.  I found that the support doesn’t end when it was not me who would be pregnant.  They offered to help Steffanie, to let her use my package, to help the odds of us getting pregnant.  I even found myself going back throughout the pregnancy for that mental break and self care I know I would get from my Pulling Down The Moon friends.  They were also invested in my story and it meant the world.

    The journey to parenthood looks different for everyone.  When you’re in the midst of it all and feel like its not meant to be, its easy to lose hope and let the emotions take over.  I’ve been there many times.  Remember you’re not alone.  There are resources and support systems that exist to help you along your journey.  You don’t have to do this alone.  We are a stronger family thanks to this journey and are so blessed to have our sweet Elliott James.

  • D.I. Why: Ear Seeds and Anxiety

    By Pulling Down the Moon co-founder Beth Heller

    We’ve said it a thousand times.  The fertility process is a marathon not a sprint and the tools in our DIY Essential Fertility Tool Kit are the “energy goo” that can keep you going strong and possibly even cross the finish line faster.  

    As one of those gals that took seven years and five pregnancies to have two kids, it was the little things that helped me turn the fertility waiting game into a constructive period of time.  Most of the little things that helped the most came from the practices of yoga and other traditional teachings where everyday life is treated as sacred and as an opportunity to make changes that can actually improve your health and fertility.  

    Managing anxiety is probably the one thing that makes the biggest difference in whether someone thrives or suffers on the road to parenthood.  Studies show that anxiety levels in women doing IVF are equal to that of a cancer diagnosis.  And I can 100% relate.  As an already anxious personality, my fertility challenges presented me with a choice.  I could struggle, alone and white-knuckled on the path to parenthood, or I could face anxiety head-on and learn how to manage it better.  (In fact, that’s how Pulling Down the Moon came into being as Co-Founder Tami Quinn and I created a space for women who were struggling like we were to manage the stress, anxiety and frustration of infertility!)

    Our Acupuncture Director Christine Davis is offered a Wellness Wednesday Workshop on Natural Ways to Reduce Anxiety which can be viewed by recording  at your convenience with the drop-in registration or join her next Wellness Wednesday Workshop on May 12th at 6pm CST to learn about the benefits of TCM on your journey! One of the tools she shared from her Traditional Chinese Medicine expertise are Ear Seeds, literally small seeds that can be adhered to different acupressure points in the ear.  When massaged gently, the seeds stimulate the point, generating a specific therapeutic effect.  At Pulling Down the Moon we offer seed kits specifically geared to fertility, depression, stress, postpartum care, and anxiety.

    Ear seeds are great whether or not you are seeing an acupuncturist on a regular basis.  If you are in treatment, your practitioner may recommend you wear them between treatments to extend treatment benefits.  If you aren’t currently seeing an acupuncturist, seeds are another great tool to help you manage specific conditions – like anxiety.  

    For me, ear seeds are also another way to practice mindfulness and remember my intention of finding balance and healing. Choosing a event that happens multiple times in my daily life, like starting my car, getting a message notification on my phone or brushing my teeth, as a signal to stop, take a breath and stimulate the ear seed creates a kind of rhythm of mindfulness and healing that helps me feel positive and in greater control of who I am and how I respond to the world around me.

    Image from Earseeds.com as featured at shop.pullingdownthemoon.com under DIY Fertility Tools, Gifts with Meaning, Pregnancy & Postpartum

  • 4 Ways Oriental Medicine Can Improve Your Chances of Getting Pregnant

    By Stephanie Marynus LAc

    Oriental Medicine (OM) is one of the oldest medicines in use today. The main goal is to restore and maintain balance in the body. This is why it is effective with fertility. OM aligns the body to give it the power to create an environment that is inviting for an embryo to fertilize, implant and develop.

    Studies have shown that OM can help improve fertility and reproductive health in several ways. It can balance the endocrine system to regulate the hormones that stimulate ovulation in women with amenorrhea (no periods) and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). OM regulates blood flow to manage endometriosis pain and thicken uterine linings that are too thin for conception. Treatments regulate menstrual cycles for women whose cycles are too long or short and give relief to premenstrual symptoms. Mental and physical stress are known to negatively affect fertility. OM can reduce stress and its associated symptoms such as headaches, neck pain, insomnia, and so on.

    How are these improvements accomplished with OM?

    1. Acupuncture

    It is advisable to begin acupuncture with a licensed practitioner three months before attempting to get pregnant. We can use these three months to ensure your hormones are functioning properly and find when you’re ovulating so you can accurately time intercourse. In my practice, I see women once weekly until she gets a positive pregnancy test and continue once per week for the first trimester to reduce the risk of miscarriage. Acupuncture can support trying to conceive naturally, women going through IUI cycles, and during IVF cycles.  And the amazing thing is you don’t have to wait for a certain time in your cycle to get started and it is great for men’s health as well!

    1. Herbal Therapy

    Herbal formulas are a specific combination of plant and mineral compounds. When combined the formula produces similar effects as acupuncture. This is something an OM practitioner would prescribe for you to do at home. It comes in the form of a pill or a tea. In doing this, the herbs will enhance the effects of the acupuncture so you respond quicker. 

    1. Warm Your Belly

    The lower abdomen stores the energy battery or “fire” in OM. Some cases of infertility can be from “cold” in the uterus. Gently warming your abdomen during the time after your period until ovulation could help. In my office we use “moxibustion” to accomplish this. It is made from Mugwort whose properties allow it to penetrate deeper and move blood more effectively in the lower abdomen as opposed to conventional heat methods such as a heating pad. You can also try Fertility Enhancing Massage as an add-on to your acupuncture treatment!

    1. OM Diet

    Certain foods help nourish the body during the different phases of your menstrual cycle.

    Foods that nourish from menstruation until ovulation include fruits like raspberries, pineapples and grapes; vegetables like asparagus and beans; adequate proteins, especially fish; and organ meats such as kidneys, brains and hearts. Also, avoid spicy, pungent foods. 

    Foods that nourish after ovulation until the start of menstruation include warming foods like ginger, ginger tea, beans; grains, and vegetables like mustard greens, winter squash, cabbage and kale. Avoid cold foods and drinks like ice water or ice cream. Talk to your acupuncturist about this during your consultation.  You may also benefit from further exploring nutritional and supplementation supports with a registered dietitian on the team as well.

    Stephanie Marynus supports patients at our Chicago office on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 7:30am-3:30pm and virtually via TeleTCM on Thursdays from 7:30am-12:15pm. She would love to support your journey!  Learn more by calling our center at: 312-321-0004 Monday through Saturday!

    Stephanie is a licensed Acupuncturist and board certified Chinese Herbalist. Driven by the energetics of natural healing, she graduated with a Master of Science in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine from National University of Health Sciences. As a practitioner, her focus is with fertility, gynecological conditions, and psycho-emotional concerns. Stephanie takes into account the mind, body, and spirit to address her patient as a whole and refine their concern to the underlying cause. She creates personalized treatments that include a combination of acupuncture, herbal medicine, manual therapy, and lifestyle modifications. In addition to her primary job functions, Stephanie has been recognized by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) for her extraordinary commitment to providing preventative, complementary, and alternative medical care. When not with her patients you can find Stephanie shooting imaginary Spiderman webs with her two nephews, cheering for the Cubs, or onto her next neighborhood exercise adventure.

  • Boost Your Immune System with Acupuncture

    By Christina Livas L.Ac.

    Most of us do not think about our immune system until we get sick even though a weak immune system is a major component of most chronic diseases.  A weak immune system can result in disorders such as frequent/lingering colds, allergies, asthma, chronic fatigue, Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and many more.  How we feel every day is essentially an indicator of how our immune system is working. Acupuncture is a safe and natural way to stimulate, strengthen, and balance the immune system. Studies have shown that regular acupuncture treatments can increase the number of T cells the body produces. This is important because T cells destroy harmful bacteria and viruses in the body. The increased cellular response provided through acupuncture lasts for several days after the treatment. Over time this strengthens the immune system similarly to how lifting weights regularly will strengthen muscles. 

    While being proactive and strengthening your immune system to prevent your body from getting sick is important, it is also important to seek natural and safe ways to treat illness as well. Most over the counter and prescription medications we are given are used to suppress the immune system. While this method is useful for limiting symptoms and managing pain, it is one of the reasons people become dependent on the medication. Acupuncture is an effective alternative to those medications. Acupuncture regulates the immune function as well as treats the underlying causes of the disease. Acupuncture helps with reducing symptoms, speeding up healing, decreasing excess phlegm, and decreasing inflammation which results in a decrease in the amount of time you spend sick. It is important that we work on building our immune system up so our bodies are capable of fighting off anything nature throws at us.

    As many of you are at home right now, try these acupressure points to boost your immunity remotely! Studies have shown that a great acupuncture point for your immune system to use at home is Zu San Li (St36). You can apply acupressure to this point daily to help boost your immune system and the overall health of the body. This point is located 4 finger widths down from the bottom of your knee cap, along the outer boundary of your shin bone (see image below). For those of you having a lot of sinus issues, my absolute favorite point is He Gu (Li4). You can apply acupressure to this point to relieve any issues with the head and face including: congestion, head colds, allergies, headaches, fever, sinusitis, chronic pain, and many more. This point is located on the back of the hand between the thumb and index finger (see image below). 

    Want to learn more?  Schedule a virtual consult with your practitioner to discuss acupressure points for self-care, discuss if herbs may be a good fit for you at this time, and just chat with your trusted advisor to reduce stress while maintaining fertility wellness until we can treat you in person!  Call us at: 312-321-0004 to schedule or email: michelle@pullingdownthemoon.com today!

    Pictures are from “A Manual of Acupuncture” by Peter Deadman

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    References:

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4540978/

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24106314

     

     

  • 90-Day Prep? Start Here!

    by Cathy McCauley, LMT

    Whether getting pregnant naturally or using some form of assisted reproductive technology (ART) like IVF, fertility clients come to Pulling Down the Moon because they want to increase their chances of fertility success. I often see clients have better success after a 90-day prep. 

    Because the cycle of an egg is about 90 days, it’s helpful for you to prepare and optimize the health of your ovaries, uterus and your whole body at least three months before trying to conceive. In that time, you can monitor your nutrition, increase your vitamin intake, become intentional about improving blood flow and lowering stress levels. All of this can help enhance fertility and create a healthy environment for a pregnancy.

    Want to create a 90-day prep plan for enhanced fertility? Start here!

    Nutrition

    Preconception nutrition research shows that what you eat can impact the health of your ovaries and eggs either negatively or positively. Yet trying to navigate all the information out there can be overwhelming. The ART Prep/Recovery Program is unique to Pulling Down the Moon and exactly what it says: A science-based nutrition program (with some teachings and techniques from Traditional Chinese Medicine and yoga added) especially created to help you prep for your upcoming treatments. 

    With this program, our nutritionists will help you set goals, regulate blood sugar levels, support the liver, assist in getting your gut and thyroid to function properly, discuss sensitivities, look at possible food eliminations, decrease inflammation and safely cleanse. Your nutritionist will also be an accountability partner and will provide support, encouragement, ideas, and recipes to help you meet your goals while simultaneously working to improve your egg quality.

    Vitamins and Supplements

    Pulling Down the Moon has been working with medical doctors for over more than a decade, as well as, keeping up with the latest research and literature in the emerging field of supplements. We can provide recommendations on specific supplements for your unique situation and also help you streamline an overwhelming supplement regimen to include the supplements with the most research behind them for fertility. From finding the right prenatal vitamin to taking a probiotic to getting on a supplement of CoQ10, we can help you make the right choices as you work on enhancing your fertility during your prep.

    Blood Flow and Stress Reduction

    Increasing blood flow and reducing stress go hand-in-hand when optimizing your body for conception. Acupuncture, yoga, and massage can all help you achieve healthier circulation and reduce stress.

    Studies show that embryos with the highest implantation potential are from follicles that have sufficient blood and oxygen. If you want optimum egg health, promoting oxygen-rich blood flow to the ovaries is essential. 

    No doubt, stress influences your body in many ways and your fertility is not spared. High levels of stress can create an abundance of hormones, which in turn, can disrupt ovulation. By reducing your stress levels, you can have a positive affect on your fertility and your overall well-being. 

     

    Here are some approaches:

    Acupuncture

    In very simple terms, acupuncture is believed to clear blockages in the body in order to allow energy, greater health, and the feeling of emotional well-being to flow freely within the body. And more and more, acupuncture is becoming a widely accepted and sought after natural treatment for restoring fertility.  

    Some research shows acupuncture may improve ovarian functioning, balance the endocrine system and hormones, increase circulation to the uterus and improve egg quality. 

    Additionally, the treatments are balancing, relaxing and offer clients an opportunity to unplug and feel grounded. Many clients fall asleep during their sessions.

    Pulling Down the Moon acupuncturists are well-trained in working specifically with fertility clients. They are knowledgeable in treating your whole body and can provide you up-to-date information on fertility health and wellness.

     

    Yoga

    Pulling Down the Moon’s Yoga for Fertility (YFF) offers you another way to prep for enhanced fertility.

    At each class, you will learn a series of yoga postures designed to improve fertility by increasing blood flow into the pelvis, releasing stress and anxiety and balancing life energy flow in the body. 

    In addition to this physical practice we explore concepts from yoga philosophy that frame the fertility journey in a way that reveals our personal strengths, reinforces the joy of everyday life and empowers us to create the family we are meant to have. Through this class you will also join the wonderful, positive healing community of Pulling Down the Moon and enjoy the energy of all the amazing women who have shared their journey with us.

     

    Massage

    The last treatment service we offer is dear to my heart. I’ve been a massage therapist at Pulling Down the Moon for several years and have seen women experience much success after receiving massage as part of a fertility prep plan.

    What we offer is unique. Our FEM Protocol™ is a five-part series using massage and related techniques to enhance the health and functioning of the pelvic and abdominal organs, and to promote the client’s mental, emotional, and physical well-being.The five parts of the protocol focus on cleansing and detoxification, enhancing reproductive circulation, oxygenating the pelvic organs, and combating stress. Benefits may include:

    • promoting egg quality by improving the follicular environment and increasing its supply of oxygen-rich blood
    • lowering hormone disruption through stress management and clearing lymphatic congestion (a common storehouse for excess hormones and toxins)
    • supporting uterine lining and alignment through melting abdominal scar tissue, clearing circulatory pathways, and releasing structural tension patterns
    • encouraging relaxation and an overall sense of well-being during your fertility journey

    We offer a massage treatment schedule to keep you on track during your 90-day prep. And once you’ve actively started trying to conceive, whether naturally or through ART, we encourage you to continue to receive the FEM Protocol. It is safe any time in a cycle and we are trained in helping you determine what will be the best treatment for you no matter where you are on your fertility journey. 

    Get started with a 90 day prep and save with one of our New Year, New You Passports to Wellness!  Have questions about how Pulling Down the Moon’s unique services can support your journey?  Call us at: 312-321-0004 for us personalized support today!

     

  • Guest Blog Feature: My Journey

    We have been honored to be part of this amazing journey with Christina. Today, she opens her heart to you and shares how she owned her personal journey with support at The Moon to get through.💗

    “After a many years of trying to conceive, I decided to see a reproductive endocrinologist. We went through several rounds of clomid and IUI without any success. My doctor told us that we most likely would not be able to have children naturally, so she suggested IVF. I was lost at this point, because they couldn’t find anything wrong with me or my husband, Andrew. We were told that we had a really high rate of success of conceiving with IVF. So, we went through our first round of IVF thinking our struggle was finally over. After the egg retrieval, we received a phone call that all of my eggs were immature, but they were able to mature some in the lab and fertilize them. In that cycle, we ended up with 3 embryos, 2 of which survived to transfer. After the dreaded two week wait, we went in for a blood test, but the pregnancy test was negative. My reproductive endocrinologist told me that she wasn’t confident that another cycle would yield different results and that I could have something rare called ‘oocyte maturational arrest.’ I was crushed, but took a few months to think about the next steps. During this time, we tried naturally and still nothing.

    We decided to see another reproductive endocrinologist. After our second egg retrieval with a different stimulation protocol we received the phone call that again all of my eggs were immature and this time, none were able to be matured in the lab. We got zero embryos from that cycle. My doctor told me that if I did have oocyte maturational arrest, there really wasn’t anything that could fix the outcome and if I was going to try again, I should try at CCRM in Colorado.

    I am an ICU nurse and was at work when I received this news. I panicked and just wanted to literally run away, but obviously I couldn’t. I had what I would consider a nervous breakdown right in the middle of the break room. To be honest with you, I felt like a piece of me had died. I had never felt such pain in my life. This is where Pulling Down the Moon came into the picture.

    At my first Acupuncture appointment, I tried to keep it together because I felt like a crazy person. In my mind, I kept telling myself things like ‘you shouldn’t be this upset. It’s not like you were diagnosed with something life threatening’ or ‘you’ve only been through two cycles, so don’t complain.’ Well, I couldn’t keep it together. I ugly cried as soon as Dr. Shimmel sat down and introduced herself. And this is the moment the transformation began.

    Dr. Shimmel, and all the staff at Pulling Down the Moon, nurtured me during a time that I was my most vulnerable. For the first time in years, I felt like I had an outlet. They actually understood my pain. Through the holistic approach, I learned to better to take care of myself both mentally and physically. I don’t know how to explain it other than bringing a plant back to life little by little. Every week after Acupuncture sessions, I had one more tool to help me cope with the trauma of infertility.

    And by the time I was ready for another ivf cycle, my mind and body felt so rock solid that ‘no matter the outcome I was going to be okay. No matter what I was going to be a mommy’ (one of the mantras she helped me develop). Also, can we talk about my (fertility-enhancing) massage sessions with Chrissy? Chrissy’s energy is SO powerful. During your massages with her, you feel a warmth and embrace that nurtures the pain away.

    After 6 months of preparation at Pulling Down the Moon, we booked a flight to Colorado for our one day workup. We did an egg retrieval with CCRM several months later, and in this cycle, ONE MATURE egg out of 18 eggs retrieved, fertilized, and made it to a blastocyst. This one mature egg—out of 55 eggs retrieved over 3 cycles, gave us a glimmer of hope, but we were aware that our chances to conceive were very low. That little embryo that took will be born this January and we could not be more thrilled to meet him.

    1 in 8 couples are struggling with infertility. While this is not a life threatening diagnosis, it is a hard and long battle that no one needs to fight alone. For those struggling, I am here for you. I will continue to fight for you. Your pain is my pain.” -Christina @cfeli6891

    Learn how we can help you on YOUR journey at: https://www.pullingdownthemoon.com/our-center/ and call us to get started at: 312-321-0004!

    (📸: Jamie Colette @colettepark on IG at: https://www.colettepark.com/)

  • Essential Oils to Soothe the Spirit

    Essential oils wonderfully enhance the spa-like experience during your acupuncture treatment. At Pulling Down the Moon we offer this additional option to our acupuncture patients. Different essential oils can be used to treat different ailments. One amazing oil is Bergamot, and I love to use it in the office on my patients. It is helpful in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to regulate the qi flow, which means it keeps the energy flowing in our bodies and minds smoothly and evenly. It is a great mood balancer for that reason. So, if your anxiety is high and you cannot seem to ground yourself using Bergamot oil will help to calm you down. If you are feeling low and depressed, it also has the ability to bring you up and help lift your spirit when you are down. It works wonders for your emotional state during the holidays and is especially useful during this season!
    Another oil I use to help alleviate mental tension and has a nice Christmas time scent is Peppermint essential oil. Dabbing a small drop of these oils behind the ears or at certain stress points on the body can help achieve its therapeutic effect. If a patient prefer not to wear the oil, they can take a few deep inhalations of it instead. At Pulling Down the Moon we also use specific essential oils for each phase of the menstrual cycle when trying to conceive, whether naturally or throughout a medicated fertility treatment cycle. The first phase oil is called Activate The Blood & Qi, it is meant to be used during the period. It helps detox the body by riding toxins through the shedding of the uterine lining. The second phase oil is called Nourish the Sea of Blood, it is meant to be used after the period has ended to leading up to ovulation. It helps with building the lining back up and with enhancing the quality of the developing egg/s. The third phase oil is called Lift Spirit and is meant to be used at ovulation time. It helps ensure ovulation occur. The fourth phase oil is Nourish Yin & Blood, it is used after ovulation has occurred up until the period begins (it is one of our oils used during pregnancy). This oil helps strengthen the quality of the luteal phase of the cycle, bettering the chances of implantation of an embryo where conception is the goal. The oils are safe and indicated during trying to conceive and during pregnancy when used in the correct manner as done by our experienced acupuncturists.* Another way of reaping the benefits of the oils without having to wear them is using them in an essential oil diffuser if you are concerned at all about placing them directly on the body. Of course, if our acupuncture patient requests no use of oil we respect that. Any oil used during your treatment can help boost the healing you get from the acupuncture itself.
    For further information or any questions please feel free to email me at anna@pullingdownthemoon.com and to schedule an appointment for Acupuncture or any or our holistic health services, please call our office 312-321-0004. To purchase any of our fabulous oils please visit our offices in Chicago or Highland Park and/or our online store, including the Fertility Wellness Sampler (including Activate, both Nourish oils, Lift Spirit). Learn more at our FREE in-center Chicago event “Essential Oils for Love and Fertility” on Feb 4th!
     

  • Acupuncture During Pregnancy

    By Christina Livas L.Ac.

    As an acupuncturist working in the fertility field, I am frequently asked if Acupuncture is safe during pregnancy. I am here to answer that question! Acupuncture is a completely safe and effective treatment for minor to moderate pregnancy symptoms. It is important to know that there are many medications that are considered unsafe to take during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. That is why many patients turn to acupuncture (as I did during my own pregnancy) to treat even common symptoms unrelated to pregnancy to avoid taking medication unless it was deemed necessary. 

    Here is a list of symptoms Acupuncture can treat during your pregnancy journey.

    First trimester:

    Second Trimester:

    • Lingering first trimester symptoms
    • Pain
    • Sinus congestion
    • Hypertension
    • Preeclampsia 
    • Emotional Imbalance

    Third Trimester:

    • GERD/acid reflux/heartburn
    • Neck pain
    • Back pain
    • Sciatica
    • Rib pain
    • Leg cramps
    • Headaches and migraines
    • Insomnia
    • General discomfort
    • Itching 
    • Sinus congestion
    • Anxiety
    • Preparing the body for labor

    Postnatal:

    • Discharge
    • After pains
    • Perineal pain
    • Incision pain
    • Breast discomfort
    • Fatigue
    • Insufficient Lactation
    • Mastitis
    • Baby blues/postnatal depression

    While acupuncture can treat a variety of symptoms during your pregnancy there are still areas of the body that should not be needled while you are pregnant. This makes it very important that you choose an acupuncturist that specializes in fertility and/or pregnancy. Pregnancy is an amazing and exciting time in your life and you should make sure your body feels amazing too!! 

    Book your appointment with Christina in Highland Park or Buffalo GroveAcupuncture support for fertility, pregnancy, postpartum care, and general wellness is available in Chicago seven days a week, too!  Book an Initial Acupuncture Consultation with the $99 Wild Card and save $51 this season!

    Specials are available with services from our partner CocoonCare AND Pulling Down the Moon!  Check it out today!

    References:

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31392990 – low back pain and pelvic pain
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30423471 – anxiety and depression pre/postnatal
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30261764 – treating nausea and vomiting
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31483927 – safety of acupuncture during pregnancy

  • Acupuncture Explained

    Kelly Lyons, L.Ac, MSOM 

    The value of your practitioner
    Why do I need to come in to the office?

    One of the beautiful aspects of acupuncture is that your body is seen and understood as the complete instrument that it is. Your acupuncture point system is endlessly evolving. If you have graduated out of weekly or twice weekly acupuncture sessions, or have fallen out of the habit of coming in to the office, this post if for you.  It is also for those who are at the end of their fertility focus, may be on a break, or are wondering if they can use acupuncture for different reasons. 

    What is important about coming to see your acupuncturist is that they will assess the current state of your health and choose point combinations that will tune your instrument, or all out repair it. It needs to be done in the office every now and then, even though we send you home more educated, with homework, or with goals accomplished.  

    There are ways to make this easier and less stressful. Pull out your calendar!  As you assess your healthcare plan for the next year, look at the entire year ahead. Break it down into quarters, seasons, and peak stress times. Book a sequence of appointments for at least 2 weeks before an event like a holiday, a change in season, or as the quarter winds down. Book 2 appointments the week before tax season or school starts.  It is great to touch base with your wellness team to be reminded of how to stay on track. This will help you be at your best.

    Women have the opportunity to use their menstrual cycle, also, for scheduling structure. The frequency of office visits depends on what is going on for you, and what your cycle or the year is like. Talk to your acupuncturist to find out what fits best for you. For some, it could be coming during your period, to help keeps things moving. For others, it could be better to come in before you ovulate.  Reach out and ask us how we can help recharge your wellness routine.  

    Come in and see us then have a great Fall!  Book and save in October with our BOO-GO special that includes a FREE follow-up session ($95 value)!